Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra on Thursday, Aug. 26, lauded the murder conviction of dismissed Police Staff Sergeant Jonel M. Nuesca who killed two unarmed civilians during an altercation in his neighborhood in Paniqui, Tarlac last Dec. 21.
“We commend the prosecution and the honorable judge for the speedy disposition of this case,” Guevarra said.
“It shows that if we all put our hearts into it, we can really make the administration of justice a little more efficient,” he declared.
In an 18-page decision dated Aug. 26, Judge Stela Marie Q. Gandia-Asuncion of Paniqui Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 106 found Nuesca “guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder (two counts) as defined and penalized in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code” for the deaths of Sonia Gregorio and her son Frank Anthony Gregorio who were 53 and 25 years of age, respectively, when the crime took place.
With his conviction, Nuesca was sentenced in both counts to imprisonment ranging from 20 years and one day up to 40 years or reclusion perpetua.
Nuesca was also ordered to pay the heirs of the victims in each count P100,000 as civil indemnity; P100,000 as moral damages; P100,000 as exemplary damages; P126,280 as actual damages; and P50,000 as temperate damages with interest rate of six percent per annum from the finality of the decision until fully paid.
Judge Asuncion cited that among the evidence presented by the prosecution was the mobile phone video recording of the incident that went viral online.
“Witness Allyza Kate Calosing, the person who took the video, was presented as witness for the prosecution. The witness testified and identified, fully explained and authenticated the video recording she made,” the judge said.
Citing the testimony of witness Marlon C. Rufino, the judge said that during the altercation: “Frank Anthony pleaded to the accused to stop what he is doing stating: ‘Tigilan mo na kami rito. Wala kaming ginagawang masama sa’yo (Stop bothering us. We are doing nothing bad to you) but the accused continued to hold the shorts of Fran Anthony.”
While Sonia was embracing her son and trying to pull him away from Nuesca, the mother had an exchange of words with the former policeman’s daughter, the decision stated.
Nuesca then interfered and threatened Sonia by saying “Gusto mo patayin na kita ngayon (You want me to kill you now?), it stated.
“The attack made by the accused is so swift and sudden that the victims were not able to defend themselves,” declared Judge Asuncion who also indicated that both victims were shot in the head using Nuesca’s service firearm, a 9mm Pietro Beretta pistol.
In the same decision, Judge Asuncion reminded policemen that they are “peace officers” as already declared by the Supreme Court (SC) in past rulings.
The judge also said that the SC has stated that: “Never has homicide or murder been a function of law enforcement. The public peace is never predicated on the cost of human life.”